Friday, November 15, 2019: Tupac Constructed Response and Typing Club

We will continue with our EOC prep warm-up log. Please get out the dark blue/purple warm-up log, grab a reading from the black chair, and answer all three questions on the back.

Today, you will peer edit your Tupac constructed responses from yesterday. Please exchange your paper with at least three peers and have them grade BOTH of your responses, using the two-point rubric below. Your grade must include:

  1. The grade (0, 1, or 2)
  2. Bullet points detailing WHY the student deserved a 0, 1, or 2 (warm/cool comments)
  3. Your name

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Once you are done peer editing your Tupac constructed responses, move on to Typing Club! This is a free resource that will help your typing skills, which is essential for the EOC, school, and your future! Please follow the steps below to create a login:

  1. Go to and create a login.
  2. Once you create a login, go ahead and log in and click here to join our class.
    1. The class code is
  3. Get typing! 🙂


Thursday, November 14, 2019: Tupac, “In the Depths of Solitude”

tupac-shakur-bw-portrait-klsa-kl-a-billboard-1548I hope you enjoyed analyzing and annotating Tupac’s poem yesterday! Today, we will review the poem and its themes and utilize the RACE writing strategy in order to answer some constructed response questions.

You will see constructed response questions on the EOC. Your response should answer all parts of the question and although I am not asking you to write an essay, your response should be a solid paragraph, with text evidence. To “grade” your responses, we will use the two-point rubric from the EOC, shown below.

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In order to answer question #2, you will need to know the five tenets of Transcendentalism. Don’t worry if you don’t know this big word yet – we will dig into the literary movement move after the EOC. The five tenets of Transcendentalism are:

  • Nonconformity: failure or refusal to conform to a prevailing rule or practice
  • Simplified Life: living with only the essentials; used to refer to a manner of living in which a person does not own many things or use many modern machines
  • Self-Reliance: reliance on one’s own powers and resources rather than those of others
  • Favoring Intuition over Reason (Free Thought): the act of relying on your “gut feelings;” using past experiences and taking chances and just learning as you go along
  • Importance of Nature: nature is necessary for humans to survive and thrive; food, water, medicine, materials, for shelter, and even natural cycles such as climate and nutrients

Which of these five tenet(s) are evident in Tupac’s poem?

Tuesday and Wednesday, November 12-13, 2019: “O Me! O Life!”

Today and tomorrow, we will read, annotate, and analyze Walt Whitman’s poem, “O Me! O Life!” I’m SO excited to share this poem with you because it’s one of my all-time favorites – so much so that I have one of Whitman’s lines tattooed on my arm!

As usual, we will start with Lit Term Tuesday. Today’s terms are diction, syntax, informal diction, and formal diction. If you’re absent, please make sure to get the notes from a friend!

126_whitman_new_1We will annotate the poem together, which you will then analyze to create meaning. From there, we will answer text-dependent analysis questions before moving on to the personal response:

What will your verse be?

Wednesday, November 6, 2019: Informational Text Practice

I hope you enjoyed your day off yesterday while Ms. Shaw and I were at work! For today’s class, you will be practicing your analysis of informational texts in order to help prepare you for the EOC (which is in TWELVE school days!). You have three choices of topics; please choose the one that interests you the most. The readings and topics are:

  1. “Brain Candy – Is pop culture dumbing us down or smartening us up?” by Malcolm Gladwell
  2. “Stone Soup” by Barbara Kingsolver – Do nontraditional families help or hurt our society?
  3. “Not So Scary, After All” by Stephen King – Lessons About Life and Writing from Today’s Master of Horror

Choose one, read and annotate the text, and answer the questions on a separate sheet of paper. Don’t try to finesse this – they all have six thorough questions 🙂 Be sure to answer all parts of the question!

If you finish early, you may complete a second reading and questions for extra credit. You may finish the second one for homework if necessary, but at least one set of questions must be turned in by the end of class. 

BE GOOD! See you tomorrow!

Monday, November 4, 2019: Presentations Continue!

I hope you enjoyed your extra hour yesterday! Today, we will continue with our speech presentations.

First is M.U.G. Monday, so be sure to get that from a classmate if you were out today!

Please get out your warm and cool comments from Friday. We will continue presentations as we did before the weekend. If you are someone who opted for the video recording, you must AirDrop (iPhone users) or email (Android users) the video to me at the start of the class period. Everyone else will sign up for slots!

reminder-fingerThis is just a friendly reminder that you have off of school tomorrow for election day! Enjoy your day off while Ms. Antonacci is still working 🙂

Friday, November 1, 2019: Presentations Start!

tips-to-make-a-great-presentation_1200x627Today, we will start our speech presentations. You will have the first twenty minutes of class to read through your speech, practice your presentation skills, and get ready to present in front of the class. You are not required to memorize your speech; however, you also should not simply read off of your paper at the front of the class. Please see the aspects of physical delivery from Jim Peterson:

Aspects of Physical Delivery: 

  • Effective voice use involves several elements. Naturally, one of the most important aspects is volume. As a speaker, you must be loud enough to be heard by everyone in the room, but not so loud that you sound unnatural or bossy. Monitor the nonverbal feedback of audience members in the back of the room, if they are leaning forward or concentrating abnormally hard, you may need to speak up. It is also necessary to vary the pitch, rate, and tone of your voice to avoid sounding monotonous. We’ve all experienced the agony of listening to a monotonous-voiced speaker. This doesn’t mean that you need to be extremely flamboyant or obnoxious. Overall, you should just strive for a casual, conversational voice.
  • Your audience gathers a lot of information from your facial expressions. If your facial expressions and your spoken words conflict, the audience is likely to believe your face. So make sure that your facial expressions mesh with the feelings and ideas being expressed. Basically, a good rule of thumb for facial expressions (as well as gestures) is to do what comes naturally. There is no need to be overly theatrical with your facial expressions in a speech. And remember, if it’s at all appropriate, you can’t go wrong with a smile.
  • The simple rule on eye contact is this: The more, the better. A good strategy for eye contact is to make brief (a beat or two) eye contact with members of the audience in one section of the audience and then move to another section. Ideally, you should be making eye contact with someone whenever words are being spoken in your speech. Beware of this trap: People naturally tend to focus their eye contact on the person that is giving them the best nonverbal feedback (smiling, nodding, etc.). If you find yourself focusing too much on this person, work on moving to others.
  • One of the most common questions that people have about public speaking is: What do I do with my hands? The quick and easy answer is: Whatever comes naturally. The key to good gesturing is variety, which most of us have in our everyday gestures.
  • The final aspect of physical delivery is movement. If you are positioned behind a podium, your movements are obviously going to be restricted. But if you are not using a podium, feel free to walk to different parts of the stage as you deliver your speech. This keeps different parts of the audience involved and adds variety. Don’t just wander in place, though. If your feet move, go somewhere.


While your classmates present, you will offer warm and cool comments for each presenter. Be specific when offering feedback so your speaker can actually learn from your comments. When offering feedback, remember to:

Be Kind – Critique the work, not the person

Be Specific – Not “It’s cool” or “OMG, I like it”

Be Helpful – Use “I” statements and questions

BAD examples of feedback: 

  • That was bad.
  • You did great!
  • Have you thought about planting your feet? I was distracted by your rocking back and forth.
  • I hated it!
  • You are perfect.

Why are the examples above ineffective?

Instead, try…

Warm Feedback:

  • “I really like how you…”
  • “You did a great job at…”
  • “It was clear that you worked hard on…”
  • “It was really interesting when you…”

Cool Feedback:

  • “You may want to consider…”
  • “I noticed that you…. It may be more useful to…”
  • “Have you thought about…”
  • “It was unclear to me when you…”

After receiving feedback, the speaker should always say “Thank you.” Then they may do any or all of the following:

  • write notes on the feedback in their journals or notebooks
  • verbally respond to the feedback with peers
  • table the feedback (if it is not helpful or if the speaker does not agree)

Thursday, October 31, 2019: Unit 2 Post Assessment

happy_halloween_pumpkin__97117.1540507642Happy Halloween! What’s spookier than a unit 2 post assessment?! Haha! You all have been working towards this for the past few weeks, so no need to be scared! 🙂

To best prepare for your assessment today, please review the following in your groups:

  • “Speech to the Virginia Convention,” Patrick Henry
  • Ethos, pathos, and logos rhetorical appeals
  • Repetition and restatement
  • Rhetorical question
  • Diction and tone